We meet Henry Poole (Luke Wilson), unshaven and morose, as he bids on a tired tract home on a tree-lined Los Angeles block. No negotiations, he instructs the Realtor, who thinks he should offer below asking price. Henry's antsy to move in, lock the door, and wallow in his own gloom.
But the neighbors keep on knocking. There's well-meaning Esperanza (Adriana Barraza), Spanish for Hope, with home-made tamales. There's the luminous Dawn (Radha Mitchell), with fresh-baked cookies. And there's Patience, the supermarket cashier with the coke-bottle glasses, on a pilgrimage to his stucco wall, believed to possess miraculous properties.